On Cloudsurfer review

I have been aware of the On brand for a while and was very interested in their shoes. I had the opportunity to try on a pair when I visited runners need in Exeter and resolved that when my Nike Vomero’s finally needed to be retired I would splash out on a pair of Cloudsurfer’s. They felt beautifully crafted in the hand and although they feel a little odd when you first walk around in a pair they fit like a slipper, and feel much more like an extension of your leg then a big bit of rubber and foam on the end of it.

The biggest difference between On and other brands is their ‘cloudtec’, the shock-absorbing cushioning system that lines the bottom of the sole. The 13 ‘clouds’ are designed to close and lock for a natural transition for a faster takeoff, which should allow you to spend more time in the air. The ‘clouds’ also absorb the shock of the impact of running when you land. As someone who has battled shin splints since I have been running I was slightly apprehensive that they wouldn’t provide enough cushioning and I would soon be in pain. In fact the opposite has happened, previously when trying to run some fast miles the increased speed would always irritate my shins. This has not happened with the Cloudsurfer’s to any great extent and they give me the confidence to really stretched my legs when I want to without worrying about any debilitating repercussions.

I will quote On’s listed features and give my verdict on whether I think they are true. On describe their features as:

‘Uniquely engineered mesh places breathability and support exactly where they’re needed on the foot. Knitted from one single layer to enhance the fit’ I agree with this, I have not notice my feet getting hot and even when running fast down hill, where in the past I have felt the sole of my foot warming up due to the friction in the On’s it hasn’t occured

‘Second layer sock construction brings ultimate in shoe comfort. It adapts to your foot for a unique fit’ The fit of the Cloudsurfer’s I have found to be perfect, no discomfort and they make you feel like you want to keep running.

‘Newly developed arrow pattern provides outstanding grip and traction. The open cloud construction makes saves weight to make the Cloudsurfer lighter then ever’  I haven’t lost grip in them but definitely think traction can be improved in the wet. It has been most noticeable when running up a greasy hill.

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Admiring my shoes and the view

So far I have not ran any more then 10 miles in them in a single run. This is because I mainly run on trails but use the lanes around my home to get in some mileage when I just want to get straight out the door after work. I feel completely confident though that if I wanted to do a road half or marathon then they would  perform just as well. It has also made me want to try  On’s trail shoes because I have been so impressed with these.

Pro’s

  • I found their sizing spot on and have had zero hotspots or any hint of a blister or foot issues
  • Although subjective I find them a very aesthetically pleasing shoe
  • Cushioning feels just right for me, the Cloudsurfer’s are said to be for anyone wanting to run 6-8 minute miles in them which is what I do on my average training runs. On make a range of shoes with more or less cushioning depending on what you want, so you can find something suitable

Con’s

  • They are at the more expensive end of the market and I couldn’t find last seasons anywhere for a discount
  • I find when running up hills when the ground is greasy they don’t provide the best grip

Conclusion

I have been very impressed so far. They are lovely to run in and have benefited my shin splints which I didn’t even consider as a possibility. The only question mark I have about the shoes is how durable they are, but after over 50 miles there are no signs of wear yet. If they prove their durability, which for around £120 you would hope they do, then I would definitely buy other On shoes and would especially like to try the Cloudventure.

 You can order them online at www.on-running.com

Inov-8 Roclite 290 review

I am a fan of Inov-8’s line of trail running shoes. The first pair I owned were the X-Talon 212’s. I found them to have almost unbelievable traction and the weight and confidence made me want to run as fast as I could at all times. However I found the precision fit created hotspots when I ran over ten miles, and the 4mm drop wasn’t enough for me when I had to run on hard packed trails. I then purchased a pair of Race Ultra 290’s they provided less grip on the sloppy stuff but had a roomier toebox and 8mm drop. They were perfect for longer runs on the variable coast path and even performed admirably in the Brecon Beacons in the snow and mud in November. But there were limitations particularly the grip when it was wet and boggy. I was clearly finding out that no one shoe is perfect for every run and terrain and living in deepest darkest Devon, I will often encounter various different underfoot conditions on any one run.

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Me racing a hard hilly half marathon in them

This leads me to the new Roclite 290’s. I was on the lookout for a shoe in between the two previously mentioned. I wanted to be able to run long on multi terrain without the lack of comfort I had in the X-Talons on the harder stuff and without the slight lack of confidence on the slippery stuff in the Race Ultra’s. So I went to Runners Need in Exeter and tried a few different shoes on, had a good feel and once again settled on Inov-8 and the Roclites. They state that they are;

‘Designed for running quickly over multi terrains. Delivering a responsive ride and high levels of durability, its perfect for moving fast over everything from wet mountain rock to muddy grass, hard-packed trails and roads’

This eloquently summed up what I was looking for. Specification wise they boasted a standard fit, which is what I thought I required after using the X-Talon’s. A 4mm drop which coupled with 6mm lugs as opposed to 8, I  hoped that I wouldn’t find them quite so jarring on my gammy shins once the ground had dried out.

I have had the shoes since January and completed a range of runs. One in particular I thought exemplified their versatility and personified exactly the kind of running I had wanted them for. I ran 14 miles beginning in a village, I climbed up a country lane and from their entered the woods. This was standard woodland running, some really wet areas and I found myself charging through a puddle that came up to my knees. I exited this section of woodland ran down an old road before cutting through a boggy flood plain and entering the woods again. These were dryer hard packed trails which eventually took me to a beach, which I had to cross at low tide through water before running along the South West Coast Path and through a few more lanes to complete my loop. The Roclites performed magnificently throughout. I felt confident on the muddy descents, they drained fast after being fully submerged and were perfectly comfortable for the short road sections. As previously mentioned there is not a perfect one shoe fits all in trail running. The terrain dictates the shoe. But if you do lots of multi terrain running like I have just described then these are really worth considering. I also think that if you are new to trail running then this is a great place to start, and I wish I had these as my first pair of off road shoes.

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My happy face on the described run

These are currently my primary running shoe, unless I know I am going quite far, like the Endurance Life marathon then I will be using these, and that is only because I haven’t ran 25 plus miles in them yet. They are one of those pairs of shoes that makes you want to run more and run faster so kudos to Inov-8 for engineering such a brilliant shoe. Rather then getting into the technicality’s of how they achieve this I have included a picture below.

I highly recommend these shoes, they have performed fantastically on every run I have taken them on so far, are highly versatile and look fantastic.

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How the Roclite’s construction makes it the shoe it is